A YOB who led a gang of Burnley fans as they tried to storm a pub after the Clarets played Huddersfield has been jailed and banned from all matches.

Richard Devlin, 56, armed himself with a metal bar, an advertising hoarding and an umbrella during the attack on the Vulcan pub in the Yorkshire town.

More than 20 Clarets fans, with the defendant at the front, approached the pub on St Peter's Street and tried to force their way in on November 30 last year.

Regulars inside desperately grabbed the double doors and placed metal bars across them trying to stop the gang, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said the doors briefly opened but the Burnley supporters failed to get in.

Some of the people in the pub went out of the back door of the pub to see what was going on, made their way back into the pub and were followed by a large group of Clarets supporters.

Again the defendant was at the front and as he approached the back doors, he thew a glass or bottle. Mounted police were called to the ongoing disturbance at around 5.30pm and Devlin was seen to drop a metal bar on the ground. He was arrested and had three small bags of cannabis on him.


Philip Holden, for Devlin, said he had been the only person charged over the affray. He had been drinking and the group he was with had been chased themselves by Huddersfield fans, who they believed had retreated inside the pub.

The barrister said: "He should have left it at that. Mercifully, nobody was injured and it doesn't appear it was a serious attempt by the defendant to get in."

Mr Holden told the court: "He is prepared for custody and believes that is the most likely outcome.

"He has been out of trouble for some time, has recently been attending Inspire and has been free from Class A drugs for a number of years now. He is in receipt of methadone."

The hearing was told ex-heroin addict Devlin had been growing cannabis worth £5,150 at his Burnley home months before the incident and said he was going to supply some to one of his friends.

The defendant has almost 70 offences on his record, including convictions for drugs and violence and has served several prison terms.

He admitted producing cannabis and possessing the drug with intent to supply, committed last July.

Devlin also pleaded guilty to affray and possessing cannabis, in a case transferred from Leeds Crown Court. He was jailed for 20 months and was given a six year football banning order.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said police executed a search warrant at Devlin's Tiber Avenue home, last July 30, and recovered 18 plants - eight medium and 10 baby plants - none of which were reaching maturity.

Officers seized grown cannabis, electronic scales - a total of 515 grams of cannabis, in tubs and bags, with a street value of £5,150. The defendant was questioned and denied possession with intent to supply.

Det Insp Jim Griffiths, of Kirklees CID, said: "The custodial sentence and banning order that Devlin has been made subject of should send a clear message that violence in and around football matches will not be tolerated. As is shown by the length of the ban, persistent trouble makers will be dealt with severely and hit where it hurts - by not being able to see their team or any other play."